“I do not envy any non-dragonkin whose eyes wake up each day to the bowels of the City of Cinders. A fetid cavernous metropolis of smoke, ash and fire that sprawls like some infernal anthill beneath the bowels of the earth. Somehow, the Draokorumnoggr call this hellscape their seat of power. It is not a city deserved of the eyes of decent men, for it is as alien and unforgiving to outsiders as the mountains of Abyssus”
- - Unknown traveller
Orocathrheim (Drokkoril: Amberrock Bastion) is the de-jure capital of the Orocathi Domain and a historic gathering location for the Draonoggr. Located in the vicinity of a large magma chamber underneath the Southern Everwinter Highlands, Orocathrheim sits above some of the last known traces of oricalcum ore on Koldenwelt, the thousands of furnaces that churn out metal and crafts have eraned it the moniker of "City of Cinders" in reference ot the hellish conditions produced by these numerous furnaces. The city also goes by other names including "The golden labarynth" for the Oricalcum-clad palaces in the heart of the city.
Situated deep underground, Orocathrheim is a city built on multiple levels around the magma lake Ashrock. Surrounding the lake are three Draonoggr-inhabited districts which are then surrounded by numerous tunnels. Orocathrheim's layout, unlike cities on the surface, can be compared to the maze of an anthill or termite mound, with space being a premium. It is a general rule that the closer toward further upward from the lake you go the more affluent housing and businesses become, eventually the trend playing inversely as the large caverns are replaced with warren-like tunnels above Ashrock's cavern ceiling.
Surrounding the mian districts are more claustrophobic tunnels prone to poor air, miasma and dust as well as poor light.
Bordered by Lake Ashrock to the south and named for the Oricalcum-clad palaces that permeate the district. The Orocath District is the central part of the city and home to the domain's most powerful mountain lords and archons as wel las the high-archon's palace in the very centre of the city. Lake Ashrock's close vicinity keep the district perpetually warm and eternally bathed in reddish hue of the magma's warmth.
Due to social segregation, the Orocath Precinct acts as a city in it's own right with enormous ambersteel-reinforced obsidian gates dividing it from al lthe other districts. The precinct itself is populated with the largest and most powerful of the domain's Draonoggr populations with those with more favour and influence with the high-archo nhimself living to the palace in the centre. The district is also home to the Great Temple To The Fallen Queen Of The Earth, which serves as the city's most sacred site of worship to the colossus Korddraggren
Named after the hundreds of large-scale forges located within the district, Smelter's Avenue serves as the primary lifeblood of the city, converting the various ores brought up fro mthe warrens and the depths to be smelted into ingots for use in the artisan's quarter. Smelter's avenue also boasts a significant number of smiths, with the weapon and armourwork being prized by foreign merchants.
Bordering the eastern shore of Lake Ashrock, the Artisan's Quarter is characterised by ornate stonework and billowing cloth and leather canopies. This section of the city serves as home to the majority of Orocathrheim's jewelers, carpenters, stoneworkers smiths, weavers, brewers and traders. Foreign visitors are more commonly found in meadhalls on the western half of the quarter. As well as meadhalls the Artisan's quarter is peppered with other venues such as aution houses, trading halls (with the largest in the city - the Grand Marketplace - located in hte very centre of the district), and bath-houses.
Fed form deep beneath the earth, Lake Ashrock is he city's central body of magma and provides the city with warmth, light and fuel for the city's forges. Despite the unpleasant prospect of living so close to a magma chamber, Lake Ashrock is a local landmark and is surrounded on all sides by expansive draonoggr palaces. In order to supply the forges, provide a hypocaust system and prevent a pressure buildup flooding the city, Lake Ashrock is maintained via a complex system of magma sluices, channels and magma-proof gates. To have a home that looks out on the lake is a sign of prestige, with a more impressive home being further up from the lake's surface
Starting out as the initial expoitation tunnels after the original Oricalcum vein was exhausted and one of the largest sections of the city, "The Warrens" is a catchall term for the maze-like network of tunnels filled with dugout homes that house the city's slave and low-ranking Dragonsworn populations. With resources not completely exhausted, the Warrens also serve as a means to provide the more central parts of the city with gemstones, food, and raw ores to be processed. Compared to the rest of the city, the warrens are sparsely populated by Draonoggr, the few who do live in these parts of the city generally being deprived of hoards or branded as outcasts.
Situated below the ciy and on its fringes, The Depths are a complicated maze of tunnels that stretch out for several kilometres beyond city limits and are primarily reserved for mining and food supplies. It is generalyl agreed that the lower down one goes, the worse the Warrens become in terms of hazards such as poor air circulation, bitter cold, magma fissures and various deep-earth creatures. Despite the dangers, the Lower Depths persist as the city's primary remainign source of Oricalcum ore as well as the output of the largest gemstones used for jewelery, enchantment, ornamentation and decorative armour.
Work in the Depths is primarily taken up by magical constructs and slaves overseen by loyalists or Dragonsworn. And to be sent into the warrens is cosnidered a death-wish or a means of punishment.
Much of the city's wealth comes from the intrinsic value of the gold, silver and gems that are extracted from the Warrens and the Depths. Despite the negative reputation of the Draonoggr, the metalwork of Orocathrheim is disputedly some of the finest in Southern Koldenwelt, something Draonoggr artisans capitalise on. As a result, Orocathrheim exports a significant portion of its gems and metalwork for exorbarent prices to feed the hoards of it's greedy denizens in exchange for surface supplies such as food, wood and meat. Much of the coin and supplies that flow in and out of Orocathrheim come from nearby trading posts of the Merovar Dynasty, who are a semi-common sight withi nthe city limits and especially close to Ashrock Lake.
Orocathheim is also known for the comparative abundance of Oricalcum that exists deep below the city itself. At one time a significant portion of the central city was a single deposit. To economise their supply, Draonoggr forgers created the metal ambersteel by adding Oricalcum to molten steel. Ambersteel is distinguished by it's silvery-orange colour spread out across the metal in wavelike patterns, with the metal itself combining the strength of oricalcum and steel to create a highly prized and valuable metal.
As a nunderground location, there are only a few places where na army can besiege Orocathrheim from the outside. The main shaft down into the city is protected by the Immortal's Gate: a fortress carved from obsidian covered in thick plates of solid steel. Past this are several smaller fortresses garrisoned by soldiers and Dragonsworn. Invaders for mthe surface would often find themselves first traversing the warrens. Invaders will often find there is no straight path though the warrens int othe city proper, and many tunnels are built with solid steel-and-granite gates to choke enemy movements. Certain sections of the warrens are built to pass though garrisons that flank the gates with ballista enplacements and holes though which magma can be poured onto the enemy. Gates and walls that feature the latter are often enchanted with runes that protect them from the heat of the magma and prevent them fro mmelting to al lbut the most extreme temperatures.
The gates that mark entry into the city proper are flanked by granite fortresses. Thes walls and gate are referred to as the Scalding Gates due to being enchanted with runes to burn anythign that touches them and can only be opened by large mechanisms on the upper levels. Protecting the Orocath Precinct are the Eternal Gates, a set of ambersteel-clad obsidian gates that are enchanted with runes that, upon command of a Rune-warden, can launch a wave of incineration at anything within thirty metres of the outer surface.
ALong with numerosu gates, the city is protected by the High Archon's Watch, an army of soldiers dedicated to protecting Orocathrheim fro mthreats both inside and out and serve as a peacekeeping force when the city is not under threat. While most dragonsworn sects can identify rank by the progressive lack of former physical identity, Dragonsworn of the High Archon's Watch are all difficult to dicern if they were Theriocephalli, Keldhros or Deiwos dueto undergoing significant transformation before being inducted into the Watch. Due to their progression, each member is fiercely loyal to the city and to the High Archon.
Despite being the central powerbase for the Draonoggr, the race itself is only a minority of the population, the vast majority of Orocathrheims' citizens being either dragonsworn servants or slaves taken fro mthe surrounding territories. Because of the prideful nature of Draonoggr, very few non-dragonkin reside in the districts around Lake Ashrock, with most of them living in the slum-grade conditions of the Warrens.
Dragonsworn, which make up some 40% of the city's non-slave, non-draonoggr population are more fortunate, with many of them having decent housing in the Artisan's quarter or Smelter's Avenue and a prestigious few (almost exclusively those who have progerssed enough psysically to only vaguely resemble their race of origin) having homes in the Orocath District. The only other non-draonoggr to have homes as comfortable being well-off outsiders who either base their activities in the city or use such residences as a local home.
Visible in the city's layout, Orocathrheim consists of an extremely strict social heirarchy. with most Draonoggr living as the city's ruling classes and living in the most expansive homes withi nthe city. Even the most modest of Draonoggr have access to some form of luxury. The city's elite often spend their days plotting against each other for power with the main rules of such conspiracies (which are enforced by command of the High Archon and the authority of the city watch) are that the violent side of the power games are kept off the streets, but such violence is permitted in homes. Other than this, many Draonoggr largely do what they please within the city limits, limited more by the amount of social influence they posess rather than state-sanctioned laws and rules.
Dragonsworn posessing enough merit in the eyes of their associated masters are allowed property and some luxury withi nthe city, widely considered as a reward for their loyalty. The amount of privelage a dragonsworn posesses is directly associated with their rank within their partiular sect and assisted by the amount of influence posessed by their master. It is not unheard of for Dragonsworn generals - parimarily those who bear fealty to an archon - to have their own manors wothin the outer limits of the Orocat District of the city. Like with Draonoggr however, Dragonsworn hae been known to be killed in their own homes while the city watch look the other way.
At least half of the city's volume is taken up by the Warrens, the labarynthine tunnels that are inhabited by a majority of the city's slave population. Slaves living in these districts bear few rights and unlike withi nthe rest of the city, slaves in the warrens can and have been killed in the street, with the city watch only taking an interest should bodies be left in the avenues of the more high-traffic sections of the warrens. Outside these areas however, certai nsections of the warrens have been prone to territory wars, riots and slave uprisings which often end violently.
“An entire city of those abominable lizards, that's all I need for a few sleepless nights.”
“Few of the little races could build something that could be so magnificent! It's impenetrability is well-deserved.”
- - Archavior